What I love to bits is when artists tell about how they made a certain illustration, drawing or painting. In a way it’s really soothing to me to see how they went about. So hopefully you will find the way how I made this illustration also fun!
I will show you how I came up with the idea and how I started beginning all the way from the first sketch…
Since three years I live in an apartment in the city of Rotterdam. But I’ve got to be honest with you here: I really do miss a garden. I’ve always had gardens but moving to the big city, there was simply no money to rent a place with one. That might be one of the reasons I draw plants and flowers so often!
Usually it starts with an idea that pops into my head. There’s no way I can trace this back to anywhere, it’s just there in my head.
I started sketching on regular printer paper. Quite small, with a mechanical pencil. I always draw very small thumbnails first, to see if the composition works. This is something I also tell my students during workshops and classes: start sketching small, don’t waste too much time on details. Get the global idea on paper to see if the composition works.
At first I drew the face of the girl full on, but then I decided it would work better from the side.
Also, I carry a small sketchbook with me wherever I go. I prefer an A5-sized sketchbook, which is also available in my shop.
Then I started picking colors. I am really nuts about colors and the right palette. Honestly, if the colors don’t fit, I don’t like the illustration I made 🙂
In this case I used watercolors.
After that I crossed off any colors that didn’t suit the palette I had in mind.
I drew the lines with orange pencil because I thought it would disappear once I put the watercolors over it, but it didn’t. The orange was too bright.
So, I had to start over.
This time I went back to my good old trust-worthy mechanical pencil. I often use a 2B pencil. Most people use HB but I prefer 2B because it’s softer and much easier to erase.
Then I started painting the first layer of watercolors. Right now I’m incredibly happy with Winsor & Newton Cotman watercolors.
I keep my palette next to it all the time, to check if I’m ‘on tone’.
First I did all the green colors and the blue of the dungarees. I want them the compliment each other, so I also used some blue tones in the plants. To me, this is crucial to create balance.
After the watercolors I did the first layer of pencil. I used green to add shadows and I dark blue pencil to bring texture to the dungarees.
I added some more details with watercolors like the branches, hair and the veins in the leaves.
Then, some more shading with pencil, and the stripey shirt. I added some white gouache on the flowers and other plants, to give it a ‘shine’.
With pencil I accentuated the hair and made smaller details pop more.
And it’s finished! It always seems like an easy job to make an illustration like this, but overall it took me two whole days to make it.
If you like this illustration, I have an giclee art print of it in my web shop. I will sign each print of course!
It’s €25 and A4 size.
The tools I used/prefer:
I really hope you liked this first blog post! If you want to learn more about illustration and art, you can always sign up for one of my workshops or classes.
Are you already inspired by this and making some of your own art already? Awesomesocks! Do tag me on instagram (with my name or #marloesinspired) so I can find it and look what you’re up to! Okay, now MAKE GOOD ART 🙂
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